Endless Season Update 04/30/2008
REPORT #1112 'Below the Border' Saltwater Fly-Fishing reports since 1996
Billfish took center stage this week with the best April showing of sailfish in recent memory! While it wasn’t WFO as far as bites, there were enough shots to cause some to complain about a malady…something akin to tennis elbow.
Dorado action seems to have slowed with mostly singles showing up in the teasers and then disappearing quickly.
As in Cabo, the tuna seiners seem to have scooped up the current crop of football sized tuna leaving only a few scales here and there!
Inshore and beach action consisted of more jacks than roosters though there were a few small roosters to ten pounds caught on rooster alley and between La Ribera and the lighthouse.
The following falls into the “I don’t make this stuff up” department:
“Highlight of my beach fishing this week was finding a freshly beached amberjack of about 10lb's. Must have beached itself chasing bait. We took him home and filleted him--still twitching as I cut it. Very tasty stuff!”
Tip: When trolling teasers for billfish, the best way to control your line is by keeping it in a bucket or container of some kind so that it doesn’t get blown about the deck, being stepped on or tangled. When a fish comes up behind the teaser, immediately drop your fly into the water a short distance so that you can use the water to load the rod. As the person teasing calls for the cast and the boat comes out of gear, with a single false cast, cast your fly across the wake. Don't use the rod tip to set the hook. Instead, strip strike and let the fish run.
Water temperature 66-78
Air temperature 65-95
Humidity 29 %
Wind: SSE 7 to 9 knots
Visibility 11 miles
Sunrise 6:45 a.m. MDT
Sunset 7:47 p.m. MDT
Magdalena Bay, Baja Mexico
Still the small yellowtail action at the Entrada along with a few sierra on the surface. Still a pretty good lump outside, preventing much fishing activity for the local fleet.
Water temps in the esteros remain low and there was little activity this week. Halibut in the shallows off of the sand beaches continued to bite pretty well. A few grouper and pargo up above Lopez Mateos on an incoming tide and some corvina feeding on the surface near Boca Santo Domingo.
Water temperature 62 - 70
Air temperature 62 -91
Humidity 35 %
Wind: WNW 12 to 16 knots
Visibility 5 miles
Sunrise 6:51 a.m. MDT
Sunset 7:56 p.m. MDT
Zihuatanejo, Mainland Mexico
There has been little change this week, with basically the same results of last week. The boats are averaging 1 to 2 sailfish a day each, the tuna are still too far out, and out of reach, and few dorado are showing in the counts.
This weekend starts our annual three-day sailfish tournament, with an expected 140 boats pounding the water from Friday until Sunday.
With the new moon on Monday, and after a few days to let the water calm down from the tournament, I really expect the fishing to take off. It is now May, and May is one of our best months of the year for the large tuna and blue marlin.
Water temperature 80 - 84
Air temperature 71-99
Wind: W 21mph
Visibility 9 miles
Sunrise 7:19 a.m. CDT
Sunset 8:07 p.m. CDT
Cabo San Lucas
WEATHER: I guess that I probably don’t say this enough, but I have to let you know that this is just about my favorite time of the year for the weather. We have had morning lows in the mid to high 60’s and our daytime highs have just reached the low 90’s. The week began with mostly cloudy skies on Monday and on Tuesday afternoon they started to break up. The wind was kicking in a bit early in the week as well. The clouds brought no rain and after they were gone the winds were very light, just enough to put a light chop on the water in the afternoon. The week ended on a very nice note with clear and sunny skies and light winds.
WATER: The Pacific side of the Cape had swells at 3-5 feet but spaced well apart. On the Cortez side south of the Punta Gorda area things were nice with swells at 1-3 feet. On the Pacific early in the week and up past Punta Gorda the winds kicked it up a notch and the water was choppy. On the Pacific side the water temperatures were lower than on the Cortez side with 69-71 degree water almost everywhere. The temperature break was a straight line north to south off of the lighthouse on the Pacific side. East of the break the water warmed to 75 degrees and out at the Cabrillo Seamount late in the week we had some water as warm as 82 degrees for a day or so.
BAIT: This was a tough week to get bait; the bait boats were working hard at snagging Cabillitos right at the mouth of the marina and were not having a lot of luck. I heard of quite a few instances of bait boats charging as much as $5 per bait. That is high, but not bad if it is the right bait, but the fish definitely preferred Mackerel, and the Caballito are not in very good shape after being snagged. In other words, bait was scarce this week, and expensive.
BILLFISH: Once again there were plenty of Marlin out there but the bite was still off. There were plenty of squid in the area and the Marlin were stuffed. A few boats were doing all right on Mackerel (a scarce bait this week) and a few fish were caught on Caballito, but the majority of fish were hooked on artificial lures. The Striped Marlin were all over the place from a mile off the arch to 5 miles off of Gray Rock, you had no problem finding fish, but they were not very hungry. On the Billfish side of things, I heard that several weeks ago there were three or four large Blue Marlin, one in the #800 and a couple on the 500-600 pound class caught right out front when these small football Yellowfin first showed up. I didn’t hear of them at the time, but was told of them yesterday by a very reputable Captain.
YELLOWFIN TUNA: Yellowfin Tuna were the fish of the week, at least at the beginning of the week, and are also the “rant” fish of the week. At the start of the week, under the cloudy skies, hordes of football size fish, from 8 to 20 pounds showed up jut off the beach from 2-5 miles from the arch. All the tuna you wanted were available and everyone limited out on fish. On Wednesday the Purse Seiners started to show up. On Wednesday there were 6 boats out there, on Thursday there were 9 boats, on Friday and Saturday there were 13 boats, at least 8 of which were super Seiners over 200 feet long and with spotting helicopters n the decks. They were fishing these tuna just 2 miles off the beach. The marines went out and stopped two of the boats and chased them away, but said that the others all had permits to fish there. These fish have hold that can carry 1,500 TONS of fish. Needless to say, at the end of the week a good day on the water resulted in a dozen or fewer tuna for the sport fleet. There were the occasional nice fish; the largest I heard of was a double on fish in the #70 class.
DORADO: The warm water has resulted in an increase in the numbers of Dorado being caught. Most boats are getting a fish or two a day; on Saturday we caught four Dorado between 12-18 pounds. They are in the same area as the tuna and marlin, right in among the Seiners. A live Caballito dropped back after a hook-up resulted in at least one of our fish, the others bit on bright colored lures.
WAHOO: There were a few Wahoo caught, again in the warm water out front, but not many of them. Average size was reported at 25 pounds.
INSHORE: The warmer water resulted in fewer Yellowtail being caught this week, but an increase in the numbers of Roosterfish. The Roosterfish are still on the small side with an average weight of around 5 pounds. Live bait was tough to come by so while the Caballito were large, there were not many of them and the ones anglers used were getting pounded hard by the Roosters. Most of the hook-ups were a result of luck, as the baits were much too large for the fish. The Sierra bite has dropped off as a result of the warmer water but the Pargo and grouper bite has become better. With the Tuna so close to shore, many of the Pangas were targeting them, and they had good luck.
NOTES: The Tuna Seiners had everyone up in arms, especially late in the afternoons when they started to set nets around the few sports fishermen that stayed out. I had thought that they were not allowed by law to fish any closer than 20 miles form the beach, and not at all within the Sea of Cortez, but I must have misunderstood the rules. Anyway, I overheard more than one local crew complain and talk about doing something, but since the Marines are letting them fish, it must be legal (right?). If we saw these numbers between one and 6 miles off of the beach, imagine how many more are just beyond the horizon. If these boats continue to fish right in front of Cabo, look for the numbers of all species caught by the local sport fishing fleet to drop off quickly. I remember what just 2 of these boats did to the fishery on top of the Gorda Banks six years ago; it took four years for the fishery there to recover. The Pangas and fishermen out of San Jose ended up ganging together and throwing rebar anchors into the middle of the Seiners nets while they were fishing and powering out, ripping their nets up. Until next week, keep your fingers crossed!
George & Mary Landrum
Water temperature 67 - 75
Air temperature 61 - 91
Wind: SSE at 22mph
Visibility 11 miles
Sunrise 6:47 a.m. MST
Sunset 7:47 p.m. MST